The gentleman’s game, as it is known to be, is simply a contest between bat and ball. But has it been really so of late? Over the years, thanks to the numerous rule changes, willow changes and more, it has become more of a siesta for batsmen. Yes, the crowd likes the big hits but too much of anything is bad. So, effective from July 5, 2015, the ICC put forth its latest rule change in terms of Powerplays that intends to level the playing field for bowlers. Let us have a look as to how.
No More Compulsory Close-In Fielders
Prior to these new fielding rules, the ICC had made it compulsory to have two fielders at least in catching positions. While it does make captaincy look aggressive, it backfires many-a-time as the captain cannot rotate his fielders. With this new rule, a fielding skipper can keep the field he wants, as long as he does not have more than 2 fielders outside the 30-yard circle.
Powerplay Splits Changed
Not that it makes much of a difference, but rules are rules. Earlier, we had two Powerplays – a mandatory one (Overs 1-10) and the Batting Powerplay (consisting of 5 overs at the discretion of the batting side, with the compulsion of having to take it on or before the 36th over).
The revision of rules sees those splits change slightly:
a.The first split sees the Mandatory Powerplay retained from overs 1-10.
b.The second though, which is debatable, is called Powerplay 2, from overs 11-40. Hard to understand the meaning of the name though, as batsmen usually graft during this stage.
c.The Batting Powerplay has been scrapped and the last 10 overs from 41-50 is termed as Powerplay 3.
Fielders Outside The Circle
This is slightly interesting. A fielding captain usually struggles to place his field in ODIs since it is a batsman’s game but the new rules give some hope. Let us see how.
a.Overs 1-10 – 2 players are allowed outside the circle in this Mandatory Powerplay stage. This was allowed earlier too. Helps the captain keep an in-out field.
b.Overs 11-40 – This is a grafting stage where batsmen push and prod for singles and twos. The captain is allowed to keep 4 fielders outside the ring in this phase. Subsequently, the boundaries reduce in number.
c.Overs 41-50 – This is the rule change which fielding captains and bowlers will love. 5 fielders are allowed outside the ring and this additional fielder cuts down the boundaries to a big extent. So the frequency of scoring 100-odd runs in the last 10 overs has become less now. This was done with ease during the 2015 World Cup where the old rule was present.
Impact Of These Rule Changes
a.It may be the inclusion of just one fielder but that has made a lot of effect. The allowance of 5 fielders outside the 30-yard circle, as stated above, has seen team totals drop significantly. Where 350-400 used to be scored with enormous ease during the World Cup has now come down to around 300 and there is better contest between bat and ball. Even scores of 270 are being defended.
b.The scrapping of Batting Powerplay for good has actually worked wonders. It was introduced keeping the batting team in mind, to give it some impetus going into the final 10 overs. But this has led to more wickets than runs so far as teams got overeager to score big.